Overwhelmed due to coronavirus? Here’s how to relax.

By Amina Lake Abdelrahman
Updated April 08, 2020
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If you’ve been feeling extra stressed lately due to coronavirus, you’re not the only one. Now that so many of us have been staying home in order to flatten the curve, you might find that your go-to stress busters are no longer an option. Since there are only so many hours we can sit in front of the TV streaming our favorite shows, we set out to find the best ways to actually relieve all of the stress and anxiety bottled up inside of you.

Since there’s a lot of fluff out there when it comes to coping with stress, all of our recommendations below have expert- or science-backed research on how they can help. To make it easier for you to get started, we also included the tools you might need and where you can still buy them right now.

Just keep in mind that every person is different, so you might need to try a few of these stress-relief techniques in order to find what works best for you. While 10 minutes of yoga every day could be the ideal way to relax for one person, sleeping with a weighted blanket might be the best way to feel less anxious for someone who has an injury. Keep reading for nine of the best ways to relieve stress at home, according to experts.

Vitruvi Black Stone Essential Oil Diffuser Anthropologie

Try essential oils for aromatherapy

Studies show that aromatherapy can help improve depressive symptoms when the essential oils are inhaled through the nose or massaged into skin. This means that in addition to being a functional piece of home decor, essential oil diffusers are also an easy way to try out aromatherapy. Go for an essential oil roll-on instead if you’d rather experience the benefits through your skin. While the scent of the essential oil is totally up to you, science shows that lavender fragrance is relaxing.  

Potted Spider Plant, Indoor Houseplant

Add plants to your home

Good news: There are actually health benefits to your plant collection. Not only do some plants purify the air in your home, but they can also help relieve stress. Qing Li, MD, an expert in forest medicine, says “forest bathing,” or the act of being in contact with nature, can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve concentration and memory. So that means adding greenery to your space will help mimic being directly in nature and provide similar benefits. Spider and maranta plants are great air-purifying options, while chamomile can help reduce stress when added to tea.

VAHDAM Teas The India Tea Carnival Set of 6 Loose Leaf Teas

Drink a cup of tea

If you’re used to drinking coffee every morning, you might want to consider switching to tea. L-theanine, an amino acid found in tea leaves, is known for being a major stress reliever: It can help you sleep better and relax throughout the day, according to Medical News Today. Green and black teas naturally contain L-theanine. Chamomile tea is also known for being a calming, caffeine-free tea, which is why people often drink it before bed to help them unwind. 

Therapedic Reversible Weighted Blanket

Relax with a weighted blanket

Even though people have been using weighted blankets as a form of occupational therapy since the late 1990s, they didn’t become mainstream until a few years ago when Gravity Blankets launched on Kickstarter. One study from 2015 shows that using a weighted blanket has an overall calming effect on your body—kind of like a comforting hug. These blankets use deep touch pressure, which can help calm your nervous system and often help you get a better night’s sleep.

Verilux HappyLight Lucent Light Therapy Lamp

Sit near a bright light

Light therapy, aka using an artificial light to mimic the sun, is often used in the winter to treat seasonal affective disorder. But it’s a technique that can come in handy year round if you aren’t seeing enough daylight—especially now, if you’ve been working from home and avoiding the outdoors to prevent the spread of coronavirus. In order for it to be effective, experts suggest sitting near a bright light while reading or working for about 30 minutes a day. 

Bed of Nails Acupressure Pillow

Experiment with at-home acupressure

A recent study found that acupressure can reduce the anxiety and pain levels that a person experiences. It’s usually seen alongside other spa and massage treatments, but don’t get it confused with acupuncture (that involves needles). Instead, acupressure entails applying pressure to certain points of your body in order to relax and relieve pain. You don’t need to book an appointment to try it out—acupressure mats and pillows can provide similar benefits from the comfort of your home.  

Off the Wall Hanging Wool and the Gang

Make artwork

Even if you’re not the most creative person, research shows that making art can reduce your stress levels. You don’t need to be the next van Gogh in order to reap the benefits of art therapy—all you have to do is make something! A lot of people choose to take up knitting or crocheting, and there are a ton of beginner DIY kits that contain everything you need. Crafting and doodling count, too. 

  • Wool and the Gang Off the Wall Hanging Easy Macrame Kit, from $30,
  • Wool and the Gang Feel Good Blanket Beginner Knitting Kit, from $97,
  • World of Flowers: A Coloring Book & Floral Adventure by Johanna Basford, $10,
Gaiam Studio Select 6mm Premium Reversible Yoga Mat

Practice yoga at home

There’s a ton of research that proves yoga can reduce stress and anxiety, help you sleep better, and improve your overall quality of life. Even if you can only squeeze in a few minutes a day, yoga is an easy practice to start incorporating into your daily routine. It’s perfect if you like the idea of meditation, but have a hard time sitting still. And if you’re having trouble focusing while working from home, you'll appreciate the benefits yoga has on your brain. Researchers at the University of Illinois found that eight weeks of practicing hatha yoga boosted brain power in older adults.    

CBD Oil for Stress & Pain Drops

Give CBD a try

Even though there’s still a lot to learn about CBD, science does show it has a few stress-relief benefits. “CBD reduces anxiety by mediating the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid),” Junella Chin, DO, an integrative cannabis physician previously told Real Simple. “GABA, a naturally occurring brain chemical, directs neurons to slow down or stop firing. It calms the nervous system, induces sleep, relaxes muscles, and reduces anxiety, in essence, directing the body to power down.” There are a ton of different forms of CBD on the market, but oil tinctures and beauty products are just two options.